Letter to the Editor: Funny River should be accessible to all

Locals shouldn’t have to drive to the lower river to teach their children how to catch sockeye.

ln a Letter to the editor published on Friday-Saturday, Aug. 23-24, a resident of the Funny River community alleged that she represented 97% of the communities 2,145 residential lot owners (2,080) who oppose a state-designed, off-current boat launch with ample tow vehicle parking along the 36 Mile Funny River road corridor.

If constructed, she alleged that the bridge over Funny River could not handle the traffic; that the solid waste transfer site at Mile 10 Funny River Road can “… barely deal with the local trash as it is; that more stress would be put on ambulatory and fire response; and, specifically stated that if you supported boat and bank fishing you would be “highly negligent” with a reasoning that the current access to the river, “is adequate.”

Now, let’s get the story line correct by addressing these “opinions,” and rely on the facts. The only single, collective entity who represent the 97% (in fact a 100% of the Funny River’s 2,145 residential lot owners) are our local, state, and federal elected officials. If constructed, the launch would be used by the same people who currently reside in this area so NO ADDITIONAL impact on these services would result from the vehicle traffic over the Funny River Bridge, nor ambulatory and fire service to the area. Since there are only approximately nine, yes only nine, fishing state-authorized public fishing spots in the over 15,000 running feet of state owned river front property, I do not believe that the hundreds of fisherman residing along this road corridor should have to drive to the lower river to teach their children how to catch a sockeye salmon.

Finally, the statement that, “If users of the river complain about driving 10-17 miles to launch their boat then so be it,” is unacceptable. It is more likely 40 miles each way if you reside near Brown’s Lake, and there are four state-operated public boat launches on the opposing Sterling side of the Kenai River complemented by thousands of feet of elevated fishing platforms along this same river corridor. And, if the author represents the 2,080 residents who oppose a public boat launch, where were they at on July 2, 2019 to testify against Borough Ordinance 2019-042 which passed unanimously by the Borough Assembly?

— John Grunza, 40-year off river Funny River resident

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